Myanmar protesters march despite ban on gatherings
Demonstrators have taken to the streets in Myanmar in defiance of new rules imposed by the military junta that make their protests illegal.
Protesters against the Myanmar military coup rallied on Tuesday in the country’s two biggest cities, defying a ban on gatherings of more than five people.
Demonstrators want power restored to the deposed civilian government and freedom for the nation’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her allies.
Coup leaders issued decrees on Monday night that banned gatherings of more than five people in parts of Yangon and Mandalay. Thousands of people have been demonstrating in both places since Saturday.
According to the Reuters news agency, security forces arrested at least 27 people in the latest protests.
The legislation bans gatherings of more than five people and imposes an 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. curfew.
Yangon is Myanmar’s largest city, with Mandalay second. It is not immediately clear if decrees have been imposed for other areas.
Photos circulating online showed police in the capital, Naypyidaw, used water cannon against protesters.
People in the crowd chanted “End the military dictatorship” as the water cannon was fired.
Protesters want power restored to the deposed elected government and freedom for Suu Kyi. The military detained her and other members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) when it blocked a new session of parliament from convening on February 1.
Junta chief General Min Aung Hlaing made a televised speech on Monday evening in an effort to justify the coup. In his address, he insisted the power grab was justified because of “voter fraud”.
Government employees, doctors and teachers are among those have joined a call for civil disobedience and strikes.
The 75-year-old Suu Kyi has been held incommunicado since the coup and is being held in police detention until February 15. She faces charges of illegally importing six walkie-talkies.
While the NLD won the November national elections by a landslide, the military never accepted the legitimacy of the vote.
rc/rs (AFP, Reuters)